Photo: Screenshot from the Hamilton County COVID-19 Memory Project Memorial Video
Published January 20, 2021
Hamilton County, TN – As the Covid vaccine is distributed across Hamilton County, and cases begin to decline, Chattanooga has begun to remember those lost over the previous year. The city just released a virtual memorial to honor residents who lost their lives to the virus.
The website is part of a nationwide Covid-19 memorial project that has been organized by Joe Biden and his committee. The video itself was created by artists and faith leaders local to Chattanooga.
The video also has comments from Mayor Andy Berke as well as an interfaith prayer. There is a tribute in the video called “Seat of Honor” that showcases local frontline healthcare workers who have spent the pandemic caring for Covid patients admitted to the ICU.
In a news release from Mayor Berke he said, “It can be really hard to grasp what it means for our community when we lose more than 300 lives from this virus in less than a year. These people are more than a number. They are friends, colleagues and loved ones, which is why we wanted to find a way to celebrate their lives and memories in a safe and lasting way.”
The video mentions 280 local lives lost from March 25 to December 31, 2020. However, as of Tuesday, there were 325 local Covid deaths reported.
The Covid memorial website allows anyone to makes posts and share pictures or videos of loved ones that they lost to the virus. The virtual memorial is meant to be a remembrance for every Chattanoogan lost to the virus, even if the current number of deaths is different than the one reflected in the video.
The website, which states “Not forgotten. Not just a number” allows people to submit information about lost loved ones, as well as search by last name, and find up-to-date information about Covid and the vaccine.
When submitting information the website prompts you to answer a few questions, such as, “what did your loved one enjoy doing,” and “are there any particular books, movies, songs, or places that you associate with your loved one?” You can also add any special memories, and at the bottom of the page it will display who submitted it. Joyce Curtis, Henry Lee Cook, and Mildred Jean Williams are just a few of the loved ones who have been posted about since the memorial project launched.
The organizers of the memorial project hope it acts as a way to help people grieve and honor those they lost to the pandemic.
Organizers said, “What we all want to do is come together to help heal. I was reading earlier today some of the memorials that people have already started to leave up on the website. It just meant a lot to me to try to get that experience even though we cannot get close together.”
Anyone can add information about loved ones simply by visiting the website.